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End of Legislative Session: Some Bills Make it to Governor’s Desk, Others Become Two-Year Bills

The legislative session ended on September 9. Lawmakers passed various health-related bills which are now on the Governor’s desk. The Governor has until October 9 to either veto or sign these bills.

SB 946 (Steinberg): Requires private health plans to cover treatment for children with autism. Exempts Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.

SB 51 (Alquist): Implements MLRs by requiring insurers to spend 80-85% of premium dollars on health care. Removes annual and lifetime caps on benefits. Supports provisions in ACA.

SB 222 (Evans): Requires individual health plans to provide maternity-related care as a basic benefit starting July 2012. ACA does not require this until January 2014.

SB 335 (Hernandez): Enacts Medi-Cal hospital provider Quality Assurance Fee (QAF). Provides grants to public hospitals.

SB 866 (Hernandez): Requires insurers to use standardized authorization forms for treatments, transmit forms electronically and respond to requests within two days.

AB 922 (Monning): Improves Office of Patient Advocate by providing a center to handle questions and complaints. Moves DMHC and OPA under HHSA.

AB 1296 (Bonilla): Requires HHSA to establish a standardized application for Medi-Cal, the Exchange, and county programs.

The following bills did not move forward and will be considered next year (i.e. “two-year bills”).

AB 52 (Feuer): Gives state regulators, the Department of Insurance and the Department of Managed Health Care authority to reject unjustified rate increase by insurers.

AB 714 (Atkins) & AB 792 (Bonilla): Would notify and pre-enroll eligible individuals into available coverage in 2014.

AB 1083 (Monning): Adopts small group insurance reforms.

SB 703 (Hernandez): Would create an alternate health plan (Basic Health Plan) for low-income individuals between 133% and 200% FPL.

For more information, visit the Health Access Blog or California Healthline’s recent article.